Online dating has a lot of disadvantages. Although I know quite a few people who have found love online, I did not. Eventually, I met someone in “real life”, but I still credit my experience using dating apps to find love myself. After a host of unhealthy relationships and even worse “situationships”, I finally decided to give it a try. I made a profile on a free dating website and received about 300 messages within 3 days.
Most of the messages were too ridiculous to bother replying to, and because of this I almost missed an interesting guy who’d messaged me 3 times before I responded. We met up the following week (at a very public place of course) and both deleted our profiles the very same night.
I thought “Wow! This really does work. It only took me three days and I’ve found someone I actually want to be with. I should have been more open to online dating sooner!” That ended three months later and I decided to download a couple of other dating apps. I began speaking to several guys and went on a handful of first dates that weren’t a total disaster. I was only mildly catfished once.
I found that one of the main drawbacks of online dating is the attraction factor. When you meet someone in person, you get a gauge of chemistry that’s missing when you’re just looking at a photo. This reason alone is enough to be especially picky when dating virtually. It’s not all about looks, but you obviously need to be physically attracted to someone if romance is the goal.
While your dream guy might be 6”3, but you’d typically go for someone only 5”10 if they were cute enough in real life-stick to that ideal 6”3 minimum when dating online because the person might not look the same as their doctored pictures. They could even be embellishing their 6”1 ½ height to be 6”3 on their profile. The sad truth is that most of the photos you will find online have been altered by the following influences:
Perhaps the most innocent alteration is a shot taken from a far distance. The suitor is likely just trying to show their body which is appreciated, but naturally, makes their face less visible. A little less innocent is the group shot with friends where you can’t even tell who’s who. The profile may not belong to the one guy who’s caught your eye.
Filters & Editing
This isn’t Instagram nor an editorial spread. Since we’re not in the 1800s, they’re likely either trying to dupe you or worse-just lacking the confidence to use an un-doctored photo. Likewise, props such as sunglasses and hats can serve as the ultimate filter. Photoshop is awesome for photography projects, but dating site pics shouldn’t even be edited with apps like FaceTune.
Number of Photos
Most dating sites allow for 4-8 pictures to be posted. If someone only has 1 photo, there’s a good chance it may not even be the real person behind the profile. Even best case scenario, it’s someone who feels they don’t have enough good pictures to post on a dating site. Be wary of profiles hosting less than 3 photos. The more angles the better!
Looks are conditional. Things like age, hair, and weight can easily change someone’s appearance drastically even if it’s only been a couple of months. People often post pictures from 2+ years ago and although it might be the same person they can look totally different. Try to search for clues in the background that might indicate a photograph is from high school or college when the person is citing their current age as older.
Considerably more important than physical appearance is a person’s career interests. This helped me personally eliminate a lot of mismatches. Being a musician, I decided it was imperative for me to find a muse. I went online looking for creative types, rather than the typical corporate nine to fivers that I had been seeing. It really narrowed down my search. For example, if 280 of those 300 messages were recruiters, accountants, and executives that cut it down to just 20 painters, actors, dancers etc. that I was more likely to choose.
Naturally, the most important thing to be particular about is profile content. Profiles are meant to give you an idea of their lifestyle. Not just looking to hook up? If someone even mentions sex on their profile go ahead and take it to mean that they’re only interested in that one thing. Don’t give them the benefit of doubt because you don’t know them. Want a faith-based man, but he doesn’t mention God on his profile at all? Swipe left because it isn’t apparent that his faith is in everything he does. Your last boyfriend dumped you for his ex and this guy is already mentioning his past relationship on his profile? It’s safe to assume he’s likely not ready for a new relationship yet. Maybe he doesn’t even give you the opportunity to get to know him because he leaves his profile pretty empty.
The bottom line is: if what’s on his profile doesn’t seem to align with your lifestyle and goals then don’t even waste your time getting to know them. The best thing about dating apps is that they make moving on easier because you can just swipe to the next person. There is no reason to settle.
While I surfed different profiles, spoke to different people and went on different dates, I learned a lot. Through the catfish, the Netflix-and-chillers and even the Mr. Rights that just weren’t right for me-I saw firsthand what I didn’t want. That wasn’t easy. Still, it helped me to be sure of what I did want and gave me some ideas about what I needed, too. Dating online continuously reminded me that there are a lot of guys out there in the world so I don’t have to get too caught up too early.
Before trying online dating, I would always put my absolute all into whoever I was with at the time trying to make them “the one”. It not only put too much pressure on the other person and sabotaged the relationships, but it also put way too much pressure on myself. I felt like it meant the relationship either needed to get serious ASAP or else I was destined to be alone forever.
When I first met my boyfriend I was immediately interested. He flirted that day but didn’t ask for my number or anything. I assumed he wasn’t really interested and I was, of course, a bit disappointed, but I’d learned my lesson. Instead of trying to figure out why or make him like me, I just moved forward with my life.
He reached out to me soon after and when we ended up meeting again, a whopping six months later, he asked me out. We’ve been happily together ever since. Perhaps when I calmed down and stopped doing too much too soon, I was able to put my best foot forward once Mr. Right showed up in real life. For me, dating websites turned out not to about finding “the one”, but about meeting new people and learning what I truly wanted.